Last night DASO students were again assaulted in a meeting at the Alice Campus of Fort Hare University. The SAPS once again refused to allow cases of assault to be opened (recording of Yusuf Cassim MP arguing with the SAPS). On the recording one can clearly hear SAPS officials refusing to open a case. This is in flagrant violation of standard police operating procedures.
The SAPS cannot turn a blind eye to assault and intimidation of students. If a culture of lawlessness is condoned, our democracy will be systematically destroyed. The DA will not let this matter rest and will be pursuing it through numerous channels.
Our democracy cannot be held hostage by thuggery and police inaction.
Yusuf Cassim, MP, informed me that while DASO students were having a meeting, four allegedly SASCO students came in and turned off the lights and started assaulting students. Cassim was present. Their names are known to DASO.
Last year the Daily Dispatch exposed a plot to unleash ANC Umkhonto we Sizwe veterans on DASO students at Fort Hare. There were also incidences of assault and threats against DASO students as well.
DA provincial leader Athol Trollip and national leader Mmusi Maimane met with the Vice Chancellor of Fort Hare, Mvuyo Tom, and were assured every step would be taken to prevent violent and unacceptable behaviour. Trollip also wrote to the provincial police commissioner, Lieutenant-General Celiwe Binta, in regard to police refusing to allow charges to be opened.
In a speech in the legislature in September last year, dealing with the provincial commissioner’s annual report of the SAPS in the province, I strongly condemned the lack of police action. I also called for the Department of Safety and Security to launch a full investigation into this matter. The top management of the SAPS in the province was present and heard what I had to say.
They cannot claim ignorance of this ongoing problem.
The on-going intimidation and violence against DASO members is an insult to the history of the university and the values of freedom, fairness and opportunity. In its centenary year, it is a tragedy that the very freedom that this university has historically championed is being trampled on. — Bobby Stevenson MPL, Shadow MEC for Safety and Security